Truth about name-brand and generic drugs revealed

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Should You Buy Name-Brand Or Generic Pills?

Fox News explored the great pill debate: name-brand, or generic? Turns out, making the choice isn't as general as "generic is just as good" vs. "name brand is much better" -- what's "better" can depend on the type of medication. Fox's Dr. Marc Siegel explored.

"What works for the patient is what they should use," Dr. Siegel explained. "When it comes to the prescription stuff, particularly migraine medicine or sedatives, go with the brand-name, more expensive stuff," he added, concluding, "Generics over-the-counter generally work, brand-names: prescription."

So, that's Siegel's general rule-of-thumb, but he also said with allergy medication, you want to start with over-the-counter and, if necessary, try name-brand or prescription after that.

The debate over whether generic drugs are just good as brand-name ones is nothing new, and we noticed in our research there's kind of a frightening amount of frivolity with the word "fact."

For example, the FDA declares several 'facts' about generic drugs:

-That they definitively work just as well as brand-name drugs. Though this 'fact' is seemingly based on one study about cardiovascular drugs specifically.

-Another 'fact': that it does not, as an organization, allow for a 45 percent difference in the effectiveness of generic drugs from name-brand drugs.

But an article on Dr. Oz's website directly contradicts some of the FDA's 'facts' with more 'facts.' The article says the FDA does allow for that 45 percent difference -- that a generic drug can be less or more active in your body than a name-brand drug.

So, the takeaway here seems to be that fact doesn't always mean, well, fact -- which is kind of scary. Siegel advises always consulting your doctor, and we go back to this statement of his: "What works for the patient is what they should use."

But, if it helps, Medicine Net gives some insight into why generic drugs are cheaper in the first place: "Generic drugs are only cheaper because the manufacturers have not had the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug."

And, a lot of the time, the companies making name-brand drugs are also making generic ones.

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